Each August through October since 1977, the photo-worthy Maryland Renaissance Festival has re-created a 16th-century English Tudor village in the era of William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Thomas More and Henry VIII.
What's a Renaissance Festival?
Renaissance festivals across America look back at this age of innovation. The Maryland festival, which attracts an average of 14,700 visitors each day, pays homage to the period with live performances on eight stages, a jousting arena, and dozens of intriguing street acts in an English village that spreads across 25 acres.
The annual event is fun for all ages and an interesting way to learn about Henry VIII and his royal court. At the family-friendly event, held in Anne Arundel County about 30 miles from Washington, DC, you can see a fire-eater, watch jousting in full armor, marvel at jugglers and magicians, and listen to re-creations of Renaissance music.
Attendees enjoy a variety of fare from more than 40 food outlets and shop at 130 craft shops for stained glass, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, wood-butchery, leatherwork, inlay work, clothing, and glass-blown creations.
There's fun for everyone, even the littlest ones, with child-friendly activities such as free pony rides, a maze, archery, a play area, and dozens of games.
When and Where
The 2018 Maryland Renaissance Festival takes place at Anne Arundel Fairgrounds, located at the intersection of Route 450 and Crownsville Road in Crownsville, Maryland (8 miles northwest of Annapolis).
It will be open weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on these dates:
- August 25
- September 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29,30
- October 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21
Admission is $19 from August 25 to September 19 and $25 from September 15 to October 21. All senior, child and group tickets are discounted. A two-day pass is $38 for the run of the festival.
Tips for Visitors
- At the entrance to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, you will receive a guidebook with a map. The map is not easy to follow, so if you have questions ask someone in costume. You'll see people in costume everywhere, and most are friendly and helpful.
- Look at the schedule and plan to attend the jousting. These demonstrations are only offered a few times a day, so if you do not plan ahead you may miss it.
- Come hungry and enjoy the food. There's lots of variety, and the prices are reasonable.
- Relax and enjoy some of the shows. Be aware that you can't see them all in one day, so plan accordingly.
- Spend some time people watching. It's fun and interesting to watch the costumed characters roaming the village and the craftspeople at work.